Although it’s true that the city of Divine Peace has a much lower incidence of violence and crime than any other western city, this comes at a high price. The self-proclaimed god-king Sozetsu Kyoi (Sublime Thunder) rules his demesne with a heavy hand. His laws are absolute, and enforced without mercy.
The citizens of Divine Peace cannot travel from one district to another without presenting credentials at various checkpoints. Outsiders are confined to the Market District, and must leave within a month of arrival unless they gain special dispensation from the Ministry of Trade.
The city is spread along the coast and up the mountain sides like a blanket. The streets are nearly as haphazard as the streets of Big Mountain Home. Divine Peace has grown steadily over the centuries, without patterns imposed upon it. It is a beautiful city, with white-washed walls, time darkened timbers, and window boxes full of bright flowers. Every family has a small plot of land for growing vegetables and flowers. Delicately carved and lacquered statues of the ancestors grace nearly every garden and kitchen, though these have begun to disappear. There are many small parks dotted throughout the city, tended by an elite cadre of gardeners and druids.
The division into districts is new, instituted when Sozetsu Kyoi claimed the throne eight years ago. The walls that now separate the city’s districts are straight lines of unadorned, gray stone. Many shops and homes were demolished to accommodate the path of the walls, including centuries-old ancestral homes. Some of these homes belonged to once-powerful families. When they complained about losing their homes, Sozetsu Kyoi proclaimed that he would elevate them so that they would no longer need those homes. When the families arrived to receive the keys to their new homes, Sozetsu Kyoi executed them, thus sending them to their new homes in the Heavens. There were no further complaints about the loss of shops or homes.
Sozetsu Kyoi is over fifty years old, yet appears to be in his mid-twenties. He has no wife, no mistress, no concubine, and no heir. The people are resigned to life under his rule and are preparing for his long and glorious rule. Change seems unlikely for the foreseeable future.
This work by Jean Headley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.